Politicizing the Body: Property, Contract, and Rights

Moira Gatens

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Politicizing the Body: Property, Contract, and Rights


This article examines the politicization of the human body focusing on the way this issue was conceived in the West. The human body has long been used as a source of metaphor for political theorists and the very notion of body politic leans on the image of a unified and discrete entity that has commanding parts and obeying parts that may be robust or ailing, strong or weak. This article suggests that aside from political theory with a rich source of metaphor, the human body also serves as the nexus where political conceptions of the universal and the particular meet.

Keywords: human body; politicization; body politic; political theorists; metaphor

Article.  6409 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Political Theory

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